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A Passion For Opportunity

Meet Nathan McClintock, recent recipient of the Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund.
Scholarship recipient NATHAN McCLINTOCK with Movin' Mavs Head Basketball Coach DOUG GARNER at University of Texas at Arlington.
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I use my story and my platform to give individuals with disabilities hope and to help them find a deeper sense of purpose and value in learning how to advocate for themselves.
- Nathan McClintock, Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund Recipient, 2017–2021
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Established after a tragic automobile accident that left the late Kristofer Robinson paralyzed from the neck down, the Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund at CFT was created to support the education of paraplegic or quadriplegic individuals. One recent scholarship recipient of the Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund is Nathan McClintock.

Nathan McClintock was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. For Nathan, the area most impacted by this disability is his legs. Like many with his same condition, Nathan uses a wheelchair to improve his mobility.

One of Nathan’s greatest challenges growing up was not being able to participate in the same activities as his family members or peers. His family had a history of athleticism. His father played collegiate basketball and baseball and was almost selected to play Minor League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies. Similarly, his mother was a skilled softball player; his siblings played various sports as well.

Nathan, like the rest of his family, loved sports but had grown accustomed to watching from the sidelines. While in his junior year of high school, he was serendipitously given an opportunity to play wheelchair basketball at a fundraiser for the Memphis Rolling Grizzlies, a local team in Memphis, Tennessee. His performance that day opened the door for him to formally play for the Rolling Grizzlies, where he developed a real skill and love for the sport. For the first time in his life, Nathan wasn’t seated on the sidelines; he was a part of the team!

When Nathan graduated from high school, he received a partial scholarship to play wheelchair basketball at the University of Texas at Arlington, but he knew he would need additional financial assistance to complete his undergraduate degree. He asked his basketball coach, Doug Garner, if there were any support programs that he could apply for to help him get through school. His coach, Doug told him about the Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas and encouraged him to apply.

As a 2017 – 2021 scholarship recipient of the fund, Nathan was able to pursue his passion to play wheelchair basketball at the collegiate level and complete his bachelor’s degree — and, later, a master’s degree — in social work. “Growing up, I didn’t have a social worker assigned to my case. No one helped me navigate opportunities for individuals with a disability,” said Nathan.

Now, Nathan works as an Autism Services Provider at Total Transition Services, where his primary role is advocacy. Total Transition Services offers job and life skills training for young adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities. He teaches classes at local high schools and hosts individualized training sessions to help young adults with disabilities experience joy and hope in their journey of learning. He helps them advocate for themselves and find opportunities to pursue their own personal passions.

With tears in his eyes, Nathan said, “I get to help young adults learn how to be a person with a disability in the world, because it’s really, really difficult.”

The Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund at CFT gave Nathan the opportunity to participate and excel in a sport that brought him immense joy throughout college and helped him complete a degree that aligns with his passion; to ensure that individuals with disabilities don’t have to grow up without knowing what opportunities and resources are available to them.

“I use my story and my unique platform to give individuals with disabilities hope and to help them find a deeper sense of purpose and value in learning how to advocate for themselves. My goal is to help others in need, because so much has been done for me. CFT, along with my faith, has been an integral part of giving me hope and joy in my own journey.” 

– NATHAN McCLINTOCK 
Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund Recipient,
2017 – 2021

This story was originally featured in our 2022 annual report. For additional details and content, click here.

Katie Kuehl
Author:
Katie Kuehl
Officer, Scholarships and Nonprofit Funds

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